Global demand sends Caterpillar soaring

AS IT looks ahead to another year of growth in 2012, equipment producer Caterpillar said it closed the books on 2011 with record sales and profit for both the fourth quarter and the year amid higher demand.

Donna Schmidt
Global demand sends Caterpillar soaring

For the final fiscal period ended December 31, Cat said sales and revenues hit an all-time quarterly record of $US17.24 billion, a 35% jump versus the $12.81 billion it reported in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Profit for the period was also up year-on-year to $1.55 billion from $968 million.

Whole-year, Cat delivered a 41% rise in sales and revenue, up to $60.13 billion from $42.58 billion in 2010 – a new record for the OEM – and profit jumped 83% to $4.92 billion from $2.7 billion for all of 2010.

“We improved product quality, invested significantly in manufacturing capacity and product development and improved our market position,” chairman and chief executive officer Doug Oberhelman said.

“We completed two large acquisitions – Bucyrus and Motoren-Werke Mannheim Holding – in important growth industries that are a great strategic fit and provide our customers an even broader range of products.

He said the rise in sales and revenues was the company’s biggest percentage increase since 1947 and much of that was due to global demand for Cat products and services.

The activity, in fact, resulted in a record $20 billion in US exports.

“While it was a good year for the industries we serve, it was an even better year for Caterpillar,” the company said in its review of 2011 benchmarks.

“In the aggregate and for most of our products, our sales increased at a faster rate than the overall industry.

“Better quality, good delivery performance, our investment in capacity, the performance of our suppliers and modest price increases all helped drive better value for our customers and better performance for Caterpillar.”

Looking ahead, Cat projected 2012 sales and revenue of between $68 and $72 billion.

Oberhelman said he was expecting this year to be another good time of growth and continued focus on its four-pronged strategy.

“While we have much to do in 2012, we'll be particularly focused on four things: continuing to improve quality, our investment in product development, integrating our acquisitions and adding production capacity,” he said.

“We expect 2012 to be a new sales record at a time when construction activity in the United States and Europe – two large markets for us – are still depressed.

“Our employees and suppliers have done a great job taking care of our customers but we have to be prepared for recovery in the developed world beyond 2012 and continuing growth in emerging markets.”


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